we’re kicking off the holiday season featuring our staff’s top gift picks from some of our favorite brands.

Best Gift for Kayakers and Canoeists - Blu Wave Dry Bag Backpack

Blu Wave Dry Bag Backpack

A drybag is a piece of gear used to keep things dry when submerged in water. It is essentially a sack made of waterproof material with a water-tight seal at the top. Some drybags come equipped with a waterproof zipper, and some use the roll-down-and-buckle-up method.

Drybags are extremely useful on kayaking and paddling trips. When used properly, food, clothes, safety gear and even iPhones can be kept dry—even when completely submerged in water. This drybag’s three-roll fold provides a reliable seal, and twist air valve allows for the removal of excess air in the bag to reduce size for packing. The front-zip pocket provides easy access to phone, keys etc. Oh, and it’s impossible to have too many drybags.

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Best Gift for Kayakers and Canoeists - Ursack Bear Bag

Ursack Major XL Bear Bag

Light as a feather but strong as a bear is the promise of Ursack’s tear-proof bags. The “bulletproof” polyethylene fabric of Ursack’s Major XL is the only alternative to bear-proof canisters certified by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. Weighing a half-pound, the Ursack Major XL bear bag is a fraction of the weight of a traditional bear canister for a similar volume. Its 15-liter capacity can hold about a week of dehydrated food for one, or a long-weekend of food for two. The Ursack is more packable than a canister and faster to secure than a bear hang. To use, take the bag 100 feet from camp and anchor on a tree with a figure-eight knot.

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Best Gift for Kayakers and Canoeists - Therm-a-rest Hammock and Smith Sunglasses

Therm-A-Rest Slacker Hammock & Smith Flywheel Sunglasses

Therm-A-Rest Slacker Hammock

Slack off in style with a uniquely soft polyester fabric that feels great next to your skin and offers a subtle, yet functional stretch that eliminates the pressure points of nylon. It stuffs into its own attached pocket that doubles as a place to stash a book or tablet, right before you nod off for your Saturday siesta.

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Smith Flywheel Sunglasses

If you dig retro-inspired shades but still want a modern pair of wear-all-day sunglasses, look no further than the Smith Flywheel. These sleek, raised-brow glasses have color-boosting ChromaPop™ lenses that bring unmatched clarity to your view. Whether you’re trekking through the trees or walking among skyscrapers, the two-position nose pads keep your glasses in place no matter where you roam. Paddling, hiking, biking, shredding, these things can handle it all, at lightning speeds.

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Best Gifts - MSR AutoFlow XL Gravity Filter

MSR AutoFlow XL Gravity Filter

This extra-large AutoFlow gravity filter system delivers 10 liters of clean water fast—all while you set up camp, prep dinner or relax. And its big capacity means fewer trips to the river to haul the water you need. Similar in packable size to a 4L system, the AutoFlow XL system’s durable flat base doubles the water volume for only 340 g (12 oz) of total weight. Ultralight and supremely packable, it offers the luxury of pump-free group filtration for basecamps, scout troops, horsepackers and other backcountry groups. And just one 10-liter fill of the reservoir can supply one to two people with a whole day’s worth of clean water.

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Best Gifts - Fritz Orr Canoe Paddle

Fritz Orr Handcrafted Edisto Canoe Paddle

From the early 1930s and into the late 70s, the Orr family owned and directed two summer camps. Camp was an adventurous and blessed place to grow up. At a very young age, Fritz acquired his canoeing skills in classic wooden canvas canoes. Years of practice and experience anchored eight years on the US Canoe Kayak Wildwater C-1 Team. Fritz also holds four National Open Canoe Championships and today he enjoys sharing his canoeing skills at Camp High Rocks and handcrafting wooden paddles.

Each wooden paddle embodies the spirit of simplicity, balance and performance. Sculpting wooden paddles is a fulfilling trade that transforms a genuine pride from a canoeing heritage. As a craftsman, Fritz combines the aesthetics of design and the wood’s natural beauty into a lasting value of performance and art.

Fritz’s new S-blade Edisto design was developed for the discerning quiet-water canoeist who finds solitude in touring or accomplishment carving maneuvers. Every paddle is custom-built for performance and artistic quality.

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Best Gift for Kayakers and Canoeists - Kokatat Life Jacket

Kokatat Neptune PFD

Designed as a technical touring life vest, the rugged front-entry life vest is made with durable 210 high-tenacity rip-stop nylon fabric. The articulated shell and sculpted foam panels wrap your torso in unprecedented comfort. All webbing adjustments are front and center for easy fitting. Five pockets including pockets for VHF radio and folding knife, reflective tape, a hydration sleeve, and attachment points for a knife and strobe round out the features on this vest.

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Best Gift for Kayakers and Canoeists - GoPro Hero9

GoPro HERO9 Black

Shoot stunning 5K video that maintains serious detail even when zooming in and capturing 14.7MP frame grabs. The new Max Lens Mod delivers unbreakable Max HyperSmooth stabilization and Max SuperView, and has GoPro’s widest-angle perspective yet. A new front display serves up a live preview for easy selfie framing—while the large rear touch screen delivers intuitive control. The perfect gift for every photographer on your list.

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Best Gift for Kayakers and Canoeists - Aqua Case

Aqua Case Floating Cell Phone Case – 4 Pack

The Aqua Case is a floating, 100% waterproof pouch/case for mobile devices. Think of it as a life preserver for your cell phone. No fear protection for your cell phone and valuables in and around water. Never lose your cell phone while enjoying your favorite water activities. The Aqua Case floats just like your canoe, kayak, paddleboard. Fully functional, fully submersible. Take photos and video to capture those memorable moments. Fearless photo fun.

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Best Gift for Kayakers and Canoeists - NRS 65L Bill's Bag Dry Bag

NRS 65L Bill’s Bag Dry Bag

Since 1977, outfitters, guides and weekend warriors have relied on Bill’s Bags to keep their overnight gear dry trip after trip, year after year. This midsize drybag can compact enough to fit in overhead compartments of most airlines and is the perfect size for weekend and overnight trips.

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Best Gift for Kayakers and Canoeists - Yeti Cooler

YETI Hopper Flip 8 Soft Cooler

One of the joys of a day trip is traveling light. The Hopper Flip Soft Cooler in a smaller size is perfect for keeping your food and drinks cold while out in the field. The Hopper Flip 8 has incredible insulation power and is engineered to be tough—because flying solo doesn’t mean you won’t get a little dirty.

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Best Gift for Kayakers and Canoeists - Advanced Elements Kayak

Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Inflatable Kayak

The AdvancedFrame is a hybrid of a folding frame kayak and an inflatable kayak. Utilizing built-in aluminum ribs in the bow and stern, it slices through water like a knife and rivals the trackability of hard-shell kayaks. The stern acts as a skeg, increasing the tracking performance. It uses extremely durable materials in a three-layer construction and features many high-end components. There is plenty of on-board storage room for extended trips. It sets up in just a few minutes and is compact enough to take along on a weekend adventure.

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[ Paddling Buyer’s Guide: View all boats ]

Best Gifts - Outside Inside Camp Games

Outside Inside Camp Games

Outside Inside Canoe Cribbage Board

Perfect for rainy-day and winter tournaments at home or at camp, this charming hand-painted Canoe Cribbage Board makes a great gift for anyone who loves the lake, canoeing or the outdoors. Be the first to 121 by acquiring points with pairs, runs and combinations.

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Outside Inside Freestyle Table Tennis

Now you can play ping pong anywhere! This freestyle table tennis set features an extendable net, full-size table tennis paddles, three ping pong balls and a carry bag.  Makes any table into a game zone!  A great way to inject a little friendly competition into your down-time!

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Outside Inside Freestyle Barrel Toss

This fun game is played by throwing and deflecting the flying disk into the barrels.  Google it. It’s a bit of a party game.

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Paddling Magazine Subscription

Now for a bit of self-promotion. Paddling Magazine is filled with inspiring adventure stories, insightful boat and gear reviews, and gorgeous photos that will make you want to grab your paddle and get on the water right now. Give the whitewater enthusiasts in your life a gift that they can enjoy even in the off-season.

  • Award-winning editorial features
  • 4 print issues delivered to your doorstep
  • Every page of every issue since 2012 in our digital archive
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